When Elliott discovers her ex-boyfriend Robin has started to transition into a woman, her world turns upside down. Elijah W Harris, playing Robin, reflects on the journey that the characters take in The Poetry We Make:

Flugelman Productions are motivated by telling great stories. Their message:

We Believe That Theatre Can Change The World.

A bold statement, but an admirable one too. We need more daring companies like this making theatre,  the ones that are willing to tackle the big problems and aim high.

The Poetry We Make is one such play – it asks whether we fall in love with a body, a soul or a gender. Brought together by RADA graduates, writer Jaswinder Blackwell-Pal and director Edwina Strobl, it plays the RADA festival and other select venues in London this summer.

Actor Elijah W Harris reflects below on being a part of the show that isn’t afraid to shy away from tough questions:

Elijah W Harris

The Poetry We Make opened this week in London, bringing with it a complex story disguised as your average break up. The show sees Elliott searching for answers in her memories with Robin, her ex, helped along by something of a spirit guide – Dolly Parton and the band.

The audience jump around with Elliott and her memories, real or otherwise, learning that, post breakup, Robin is transitioning to become a woman. Where does this leave Elliott? Is it anything to do with her? Does it change their shared past? Can Dolly shed any light on the matter?

My name is Elijah, I am a trans man and I play Robin. Robin is male presenting for the majority of the play, though often takes the role of teacher, guiding Elliott towards a better understanding of Robin’s journey.

And it certainly is a journey, for both of them. Elliott sees her precious memories shifting before her eyes – this is a situation that she can’t control. And Robin is adrift, slowly navigating towards a future self.

As someone with a trans experience, I have found this process quite challenging; much of what is said in the play rings true to my own experiences. Sometimes the story skirts too close to home but it also forces me to grapple with the other side of the story. And I’m sure I won’t be the only one!

There is much to be taken away from The Poetry We Make, from a raw look at the difficulties of relationships, to the effects of gender roles – and of course a lengthy discussion about spirit guides. Personally, I would like to think David Bowie would be there for me.

 

To read more about The Poetry We Make and their future performances, follow Flugelman Productions on Twitter (@_flugelman) or visit the website – www.flugelman.com